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This post is for those seven people left in the world who still make their own lasagna.

You know in a traditional lasagna recipe how it tells you to boil the noodles first and then layer them? Have you done this? Have you tried to get the slippery, slimy noodles from the pan only to have them tear, flop, splash and goober? Have you?

If so you may have taken note that stores now sell “oven ready” noodles that don’t need to be cooked first. You just layer them in, all stiff and hard, and they cook and soften just fine.

Your mileage may vary, but the Damsel has been doing this for years with REGULAR lasagna noodles, not special “oven ready” ones and nothing bad has happened.

She doesn’t know what the difference is between “oven ready” and regular noodles since they both look pretty much the same–except the price. There must be a difference. Surely this isn’t some grand conspiracy. Right? Right?

What the Damsel does know is that doing lasagna this way makes a formerly-complicated dinner into a pretty darn easy thing to make. Plus, and this is her favorite part–the lasagna turns out nice and firm, not soupy.

Here’s how it’s done at the Cottage:

Cook one gigantic pot of spaghetti sauce by combining a #10 can of crushed tomatoes from the Huge Mart with cooked ground beef and onion. Season it in whatever way seemeth thou best, marinara style, whether that means packets of spaghetti sauce mix or fresh herbs or something in between.

Serve it to the teeming masses over spaghetti noodles. Watch them hork most of it down.

The next day, use the leftover sauce to make lasagna. Layer sauce, uncooked lasagna noodles, ricotta cheese (how to make your own), other cheeses of your choice, and repeat layers 3 times or until you feel like stopping. The top layer should be sauce and all the noodles should be covered. (Parmesan on top is okay) You’ll love how easy it is to spread ricotta on top of hard noodles instead of goobery ones.

Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 degrees F. about an hour, until the noodles are soft. (Poke with a fork in the middle and on the edge) If you feel nervous, check it after 45 minutes and add a little water to the pan if necessary. But normally, the moisture in the sauce is enough to soften the noodles. Bonus: the noodles are absorbing saucy liquid instead of plain water and are thus extra delicious.

Just in case oven-ready noodles really are part of a conspiracy, you’ll have struck a blow for right and truth.


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  • Rockymento

    I believe you told me this years ago! Usually a lasagna of any worth must weigh almost 15 pounds when put in the oven!

    • damsel

      aboslutely! The heavier the better, eh?

  • Linda Ann

    Thanks!  I just made lasagna last week so I’ll have to wait a few weeks, but I’ll give this a try as it will probably be so much easier.  I appreciate the tip!

    • Anonymous

      Oh! great! Hope you like it. I think it is SO MUCH EASIER!

  • 80rose

    I must say that I just absolutely love this blog.  I think that i followed this blog in heaven, and have been reunites with it here.  I am totally going to try this, since the “no cook” noodles are WAY mushy (especially if you make 3 lasagnas and freeze two…).  I’m all about right and truth.  🙂

    • Anonymous

      Thank you! Your comment totally made my day.

  • Just found this from a link from somewhere…
    “Goobery” noodles…you crack me up!   Gonna go check out your prerequisites…..

    • Anonymous

      Glad you liked it! And you gotta admit, they really are pretty goobery.

  • Jdaniel4smom

    I have been using regular noodles too. I love making lasagna this way.

    • Anonymous

      It’s so much easier, isn’t it? I wonder how cooking them first even got started.

  • This is the way my mom always made lasagna and so this is the way I make it too. So I guess we are two of the seven left in the world!
    I actually was surprised to read on lasagna noodle packages to boil the noodles before making lasagna since I had NEVER seen it done this way. My mom calls it “lazy man lasagne”. We add a little water (1/2 cup) to the sauce to give the noodles a little extra to absorb, (just another idea, if anyone is worried about crunchy noodles).

    • Anonymous

      That’s what I call it too! Thanks!

  • Kristl

    If you’re feeling really lazy, I have a recipe for Lazy Day Lasagna http://www.TheBudgetDiet.com/frugalicious-and-fast-dinner-ideas

    • Anonymous

      Ooo! Thanks! I’ll check that out.

  • Yeah! That food is for the lazy to eat but I do agree its more healthy than a typical lasagna. 

  • Linda Ann

    Hey this idea is totally great!  Tried it last night and it worked like a charm.  I think it soaks up a little of the tomatoes as my dish wasn’t as saucy! Nice, thanks.

    • Anonymous

      sweet! I’m glad it worked for you.

  • Wendy R

    I tried this once- I was using the no-cook noodles and ran out before I planned. I had a few “regular” noodles, and I just tossed them in (on bottom, so they’d be where more of the liquid was).  Unfortunately, they were quite crunchy. I had people over, so it was pretty embarrassing.

    • Anonymous

      Oh no! I wonder why. I’ve done this dozens of times with no troubles. So sorry!

    • koam

      you have to seal it with foil

  • Mdmmommy

    I’ve always used regular lasagna noodles and didn’t cook them prior!  But now it’s been a while and I swear it cooked in the oven for like 2 hours! UGH!  I can’t seem to remember for sure and of course I can’t locate my recipe card!

    • Anonymous

      You’re right, there’s some variation on how long the lasagna needs to cook, depending on the temperature of the oven and how saucy the sauce is. I wouldn’t be shocked at 2 hours although mine doesn’t take that long.

  • yum! Here in Norway you can only get the oven ready noodles. I’ve found that I don’t like the texture of them, and prefer making my own lasagna noodles, but when I’m feeling lazy (like today!) I just use the oven ready. I never thought of using the regular noodles the same as the oven ready before!

  • Pingback: Day Five- What I Ate, and a recipe! « Nutsville in Norway()

  • sssalvo

    The key, in my experience (I hate the effort of coating slimy, slide-y noodles with a passion), is the same as a succulent meatloaf-liquid. The balance admittedly is more exact with meatloaf else one ends with a flat “loaf” than regular lasagna pasta, lots of room for expansion there. And tossing a cookie sheet on the shelf under the lasagna overcomes over spills.